What's With the Name?
America's Food & Health Crisis
Our Food Supply Madness
Factors Affecting Food's Nutrition
Small Farm Economics
10 Year Plan
The 10 Year Plan
The broad plan is after 7-10 years, to be growing/producing 60-70% of an average family's diet and develop year 'round home delivery to about 2,000 households. That means fruits and nuts, produce, proteins, processed foods including cheese, breads, dinners, desserts, wine and dairy. Food production will always be comingled food, farm & cooking education, family friendly events, and light recreation facilities for families and youth.
I'll spend 2-3 years refining growing processes (greenhouse, hothouse, aquaponics and market gardening) and around the 4th year buy land suitable to the overall paradigm, put in fruit trees, vines, canes, bee hives, maple trees and nuts, and start producing livestock. Sales will begin through retail outlets as soon as possible but the 5th year I'll open a full farm stand on the property and start home deliveries trying to build to 2,000 households over 3-4 years, each year of course scaling production to meet growing demand.
Along the way I'll build partnerships with other producers/farms to ensure that I can offer my subscribers that promised variety until NECY Farm is wholly self sufficient. To give you an idea of the numbers and math:
If my subscribers follow national averages, here's what 2,000 households will need.
a Projections were made before COVID-19 arrived.
b Includes eggs used in beverages, ingredients in products/baked goods, and cooked from the shell.
c Includes only meat products, no fats that may be used for rendering.
d Calculations based on 2,000 subscribing households and 2.52 persons per household.
e Calculations rounded to the nearest 10.
f Poultry includes chickens, ducks, geese & quail.
g For projections, 7 pounds per consumer is estimated.
h Fish are mixed species with individual characteristics.
h Beefalo are a hybrid animal, 3/8ths bison and 5/8ths domestic cattle.67
Of course Rome wasn't built in a day, and getting to these production goals can't happen instantaneously. And to be able to offer 'year round farm products takes preplanning and creative use of technologies.
Methods & Technologies
The farm will strive to be wholly organic, a process that takes time (years) and independent certification. The internet abounds with assorted natural practices but USDA & New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food rules and regulations require certain practices for commercial growers. There is some substantial leeway, so here is what we have settled upon.
Greenhouses: Nebraska farmer Russ Finch pioneered a greenhouse system whereby multiple tubes buried below the frost line convect and circulate 50-degree air to his greenhouse.57 Because the ground below the frost line remains a constant temperature his tubes are able to 'harvest' the air, to cool his greenhouse in the summer and heat the greenhouse in the winter. Most plants well tolerate 50 degree temperatures enabling NH cultivation of coffee, citrus, olives, bananas, etc. And rather than burn fossil fuels to heat a greenhouse, solar energy can power the fans necessary to circulate the 50 degree air. [Video] Over time I'll build several of these greenhouses to cost-effectively and environmentally safely offer a wide range of non-native produce & products.
Aquaponics: Traditional farming is raising crops in the ground. Hydroponics is raising crops in nutrient (chemically) enriched water. Aquaponics is raising plants symbiotically with fish, whereby the water that the fish inhabit (together with fish effluent) is naturally treated by helpful bacteria, and becomes the growing medium for the crops. The plants consume the effluent, returning the water back to the fish to start the cycle all over again. Aquaponics will allow 70% of the vegetables to be produced year 'round. [Video]
Solar: Except for transportation to/from the greenhouse, everything I have done so far has been powered by electricity. It's my hope that by the time I purchase land that an electric powered tractor will be available from a major manufacturer. Almost everything else the farm needs to do can already be done electrically. I am totally committed to making the farm 100% electrically powered, and the bulk of that from solar.
Feed: All the non-fish livestock on the farm will be fed the same diet: fresh aquaponically or hydroponically grown sprouts, (predominantly barley) and occasional fruits and veggies. Barley sprouts are rich in protein, fiber, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals.58 Most of the animals can also browse during the day. Juvenile animals, particularly poultry, will have some variation, but I am completely against feeding or finishing animals on corn. Grass fed animals are more flavorful and nutritious, and are less fatty.59